4 Important Symptoms Every Woman Should Never Ignore
The body often experiences pains and aches that are normal, but for women there are symptoms that shouldn’t be ignored.
The body often experiences pains and aches that are a normal part of being alive, and as you grow older, these become more frequent. But for women, there are symptoms that shouldn’t be ignored, especially after turning 40. In a Today article, Joan Raymond exposes four of them.
1. Knee pain
Most likely: Overuse
Worst-case scenario: Ligament or cartilage damage, arthritis
Unrelated to such injuries like falling, an overused knee typically causes discomfort pain around the front or sides of the knee.
"I tell people don't squat, don't climb stairs, rest your knee, but people always think they have to be doing something," says Dr. Barbara Bergin of Texas Orthopedics in Austin, TX. "Pain is your body's way of saying slow down."
Ice helps for a quick fix, but if you want to use aspirin or ibuprofen for the pain, consult your doctor first. Sitting with your knees and legs apart with your feet planted flat on the ground also helps.
When to act: Consult your doctor when you start experiencing pain and swelling after sitting or resting, or if your knees lock, buckle, make grinding noises or feel weak.
2. Leg pain
Most likely: Overuse or a pulled muscle
Worst-case scenario: Chronic venous insufficiency, DVT
Overexertion when walking or running can cause leg pain, and so does sitting on the couch all day. If the pain goes away with the help of home remedies, it’s probably nothing to worry about.
However, leg pain in women can also be a sign of chronic venous insufficiency (CVI) in which the blood in the legs doesn't circulate back to the heart effectively. CVI can lead to leg ulcers and blood clot.
Even worse is a leg problem called deep vein thrombosis (DVT). It occurs after sitting for periods of time, such as during a long-haul flight. Women who take hormone therapy, smoke or are pregnant are also susceptible to it.
When to act: If you're experiencing symptoms of CVI which includes swelling, muscle cramps, leg itching, pain, and leg "heaviness"; or symptoms of DVT: redness, pain and swelling of the calf, warm to the touch, shortness of breath, difficulty breathing.
3. Changes in vision
Most likely: Too much screen time or presbyopia
Worst-case scenario: Stroke
Activities which tax the eyes, such as watching television for prolonged periods or working long hours at the computer, can cause vision discomfort. Quick fixes include taking breaks, blinking, adjusting screen or monitor settings your screen.
Changes in vision can also signal stroke; women are more at risk of stroke than men. According to the American Stroke Association about 100,000 women under age 65 are diagnosed with stroke annually.
Risk for stroke is higher for women who smoke have high blood pressure, atrial fibrillation, heart disease, or diabetes.
When to act: Seek immediate help if you experience a loss of vision in one or both eyes. This may be a sign of stroke. Other symptoms include a droop to the face, arm weakness and speech difficulties.
4. Frequent urination
Most likely: Urinary tract infection
Worst-case scenario: Diabetes
Women are more prone to UTIs, especially when their estrogen levels start to decrease. But if you experience frequent and painful urination, it’s still best to consult your doctor.
Frequent urination can also be a sign of diabetes, particularly Type 2 diabetes which is common on adults. In women, diabetes increases the risk of heart disease and have blindness from diabetes.
When to act: Other signs of diabetes include hunger, thirst and fatigue. However, many people don't notice any symptoms because those symptoms are so mild.